Terry Howell Gunnels, a Goldsboro native and UNC alumna, and Paul Mitalas spent decades apart before they learned through their children’s Facebook connections that they were both single. The two, who originally met when their toddlers were in swim class together, reconnected and bonded over their shared history and irreverent sense of humor. Paul, an Ottawa native, surprised her by proposing just after midnight at a New Year’s party the couple was hosting. Terry took so long to respond affirmatively that Paul began to devise a plan to gracefully depart their home after his rejection.
However, on May 3, 2014, the fear of an embarrassing exit turned into a joyous walk down the aisle. Amanda, Terry’s daughter and her maid of honor, set the wedding’s lighthearted mood when she forgot Paul’s ring and had to run across the lawn to the Chapel Hill Carriage House, fetch the ring and sprint back. With the couple’s six children (Amanda, Christopher and Kevin Gunnels, Andy and Lisa Mitalas and Carolyn Mitalas Windall) all in attendance, Terry and Paul agreed that their favorite part of the night was celebrating the start of their lives together with friends and family.
The couple lives in Chapel Hill. Terry works as the special events coordinator for Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and Paul is a founding partner at PRACTIVE Health in Raleigh.
Ed. Note: This article first appeared in our January/February 2015 issue.